Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oracle's New SPARC Supercluster

SPARC SuperclusterWhen the Sun SPARC microprocessor first came out, many people thought that it would be a dead end. Well, Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, is on a mission to prove all of those naysayers wrong.

Oracle announced a plethora of new servers powered by SPARC as well as an outline for future development of SPARC. Among the new servers there is an SPARC based Exalogic Elastic Cloud and the newly unveiled SPARC Supercluster. It seems that the new SPARC servers are being optimized for the upcoming Solaris 11 Unix os as Sun's hardware and software portfolios undergo an update from Oracle.

According to Ellison, "For all our competitors that have been enjoying their Sun down and Sun set programs, this is the end of that. The Sunrise program is all about SPARC and Solaris, those two foundation technologies are going to lead the industry into the next generation of engineered systems."

One of the new SPARC systems announced by Oracle is the Exalogic Elastic Cloud server which is powered by SPARC. Back in September, Oracle debuted an x86 based Exalogic server at OpenWorld. The Exalogic server is a middleware enhanced cloud-in-a-box solution that is specifically designed for Java applications. On the flipside, the SPARC version is powered by a 16 core T3-1B SPARC processor.

Oracle is also making a general purpose computing platform with the new SPARC Supercluster while Exalogic is focused on Java middleware performance. "The Supercluster is a general purpose server that will run your middleware, your customer apps and your database extremely well," Ellison said. "It runs your database faster than anyone has run any database before."

Aside from talking about the new SPARC T3 processors in the Exalogic and Supercluster platforms, Ellison also talked about the benefits of InfiniBand, which is used in both systems in order to approve overall performance. InfiniBand is typically seen in high performance computing systems and offers lower latency than your traditional Ethernet configurations.

According to Ellison, "We think InfiniBand is dramatically better for linking servers to other servers and servers to storage than Ethernet. We certainly have Ethernet connectivity to these boxes, but when these servers are talking amongst themselves and talking to storage, they're going through a high performance, reliable and guaranteed delivery network called InfiniBand."

Oracle is continuing to move ahead on SPARC performance beyond the current generation of T3 processors. According to Ellison, "The T4 is alive in the lab delivering a lot better single-threaded performance than the T3. In T3 we focused on adding more cores, and in the T4 we're trying to make our single thread performance better and it looks very good right now." Delivers to Las VegasPlanning on a convention, trade show or conference?

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